Paxon School for Advanced Studies
High School Language Arts / AP Literature
Paxon School teacher, Patrice Haupt, believes each student is a unique individual who needs a secure, loving and inviting atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, socially and physically. Megan Mendez writes, "There are many things I could tell you about Mrs. Haupt. Above all, I want you to know about the compassion and understanding she shows to every child she encounters. We were not just her students; we were always her children. She didn't accept the bare minimum from any of us because she always saw the potential each and everyone of us had."
Mrs. Haupt was inspired by the learning challenges of her son to become a teacher. That inspiration sustains her desire to be a better teacher everyday for those students who struggle and may feel forgotten. Former colleague, Sarah Axelrod, writes "She is still in the lives of the students she has taught, some of whom are in their own classrooms now."
Mrs. Haupt, previously a Barnes and Noble Teacher of the Year, hopes to enroll in a doctoral program. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Haupt would like to focus her work and scholarship on those students who are the first generation in their families to apply to, enter and successfully navigate higher education.
Assumption Catholic School
Language Arts, Grade 8
Mrs. Henderson's role model was her aunt, Barbara Green, who taught special education for 35 years and was herself a Gladys Prior Award recipient in 2010. With this inspiration in mind, Mrs. Henderson believes that it is important to gain the trust and respect of students while developing a relationship with them. She enjoys helping young people realize how much they are capable of, not only in the classroom, but in life.
Along with being a language arts teacher, Mrs. Henderson serves as the cross-country coach. Parent Jennifer White writes, "Of my five children, some love to run, but aren't super-fast, some love to run and are fast and getting faster, and some don't love it, aren't fast, but know it's good for them. They love Mrs. Henderson because she is always encouraging and supporting." This attention to the individual is also evident in the classroom. Colleague Tina Amico writes, "The story seems the same each August. A good number of students enter Alicia's classroom with little or no interest in reading, either due to lack of interest or low reading level. This is where Alicia grabs hold of the reins and takes over, starting to work her magic on these unsuspecting adolescents." Mrs. Henderson's goal in life is to continue to inspire children to love reading and writing.
Larry J. Knight, Jr.
Stanton College Preparatory School
High School Language Arts
Larry J. Knight, Jr. teaches in order to enlighten his students, affect their moral, social and intellectual growth, and to help transform society through education. His teaching is informed by the philosophy that good instruction speaks directly to the learning needs of students. Former student, Manya Goldstein, speaks to Mr. Knight's commitment to both the student and the betterment of society when she describes him as the "watchful advisor" to the award winning Stanton newspaper, the Devil's Advocate. The success of the Devil's Advocate under Mr. Knight's guidance is the result of hard work and high expectations as described by student Valerie Starks, "I vividly remember submitting countless drafts of my work prior to receiving a 'P' (for publishable)." Valerie goes on to say, "He treats all people with tolerance and dignity, earning the respect of Stantonians everywhere."
As a career teacher of 19 years, Mr. Knight's awards and recognitions are abundant. In addition to the Gladys Prior award, Mr. Knight is this year's Stanton College Preparatory School's Teacher of the Year. Mr. Knight's goals include continuing to hone his craft as an educator and to complete his doctoral degree, anticipated in 2018.
James L. Miller
LaVilla School of the Arts
Social Studies / U.S. History, Grade 8
Mr. James Miller comes from a long line of educators to include two siblings who are also teachers. While noting that there might be something "akin to a teaching gene" when speaking of family influence, Mr. Miller also points to Mr. Mike Ridell, his history teacher at Lee High School, as someone who inspired him as "the most difficult, demanding and best teacher I have ever known."
As a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Mr. Miller has been previously recognized as the St. Johns River Water Management Environmental Educator of the Year, the William M. Raines High School Teacher of the Year and the Duval County Region I Teacher of the Year. By all accounts, Mr. Miller is an infectious story teller who weaves maps, images, film clips and even his love of gardening into his "war" against the notion that "history is boring." Former student Jayleen Cerda is "reminded by his words to never stop seeking the truth." Mr. Miller considers teaching to be "one of the highest forms of public service-one that I am glad to partake in for the betterment of my students and our community."